Remote Working – Risk or Reward?

11-05-2017

Working remotely is on the rise across various industries and many people believe it is the future of flexible working. However, some companies see this as a threat to their culture and productivity. What creates this divide between companies that embrace remote working, and those who discourage it?

How effective remote working can be all depends on the industry and line of work that the company operates in.  If the business is client facing and many employees are always on the go, remote working could be a great solution to save office space and give rarely-used desks to employees who are always in the office and need more room to work. Businesses could save money by renting smaller offices and using hot desking for the remote workers for the odd occasions when they are in the office. Working remotely should give employees a heightened sense of responsibility and satisfaction, which leads to increased productivity which in turn leads to happier customers. Productivity is also increased due to eliminated commuting time.

If the business needs a face-to-face or collaborative approach in the office, and the company relies on employees motivating each other, remote working is probably the wrong method of working. Instead, having flexible office spaces may be a better choice to allow employees freedom to move around and work in their own preferred area, without having to put such a high level of trust in them, which some managers may not be prepared to do.

The suitability of working remotely also depends on the job role. An on-the-go sales person living near London is going to find it a waste of time and money to travel out of London to the office, only to travel back into London later in the day to visit a client. In these situations, remote working is definitely beneficial, and they can come to the office on quiet days with no appointments. This mixture of remote and office based working provides a change of scenery and adapts to the employee’s needs depending on their current tasks. However, a sales person or someone in a support role needs to be office based to collaborate with others and ensure things behind the scenes run smoothly between departments.

Therefore, each company should independently assess whether working remotely is productive for them or not, depending on their culture, nature of business and any other factors which are crucial for them.

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